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When Crisis Strikes, Lead With Humanity

Originally published April 23, 2020 on Harvard Business Review by Doug Sundheim The writer George Saunders has a fitting analogy for the current Covid-19 moment: We’ve slipped on ice but haven’t hit the pavement yet. We’re caught in a suspended state between losing control and feeling the full impact. The comparison points to a paradoxical tension that…

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Making Stakeholder Capitalism Work

Originally published January 22, 2020 on Harvard Business Review by Doug Sundheim and Kate Starr Stakeholder capitalism, a popular management theory in the 1950s and ‘60s that focused on the needs of all constituents, not just shareholders, has been poised to make a comeback since weaponized financial instruments brought down the economy in 2008. Now,…

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3 Reasons Your Strategy Meetings Irritate Your Team

Originally published March 1, 2016 on Harvard Business Review by Doug Sundheim Used well, strategy meetings provide clarity and momentum. They align a team around key decisions and create positive energy. Used poorly, strategy meetings irritate people. They waste time and energy, or worse, strengthen entrenched points of view creating frustration and resignation. In my work…

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Debriefing: A Simple Tool to Help Your Team Tackle Tough Problems

Originally published July 2, 2015 on Harvard Business Review by Doug Sundheim Your team has identified an important goal to hit, challenge to be addressed, or opportunity to be pursued. You call a meeting or two, set objectives, put a plan together, and start to execute. Everything looks good on paper. But then your plan…

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Successful Innovators Don’t Care About Innovating

Originally published October 22, 2014 on Harvard Business Review by Doug Sundheim Successful innovators care about solving interesting and important problems — innovation is merely a byproduct. If this distinction seems like hair-splitting, it isn’t. The two focuses create vastly different realities. Focusing on innovating — as a worthy goal unto itself — tends to…

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The Trouble with Leadership Theories

Originally published May 5, 2014 on Harvard Business Review by Doug Sundheim Several years ago a client of mine, Rob, fell in love with Jim Collins’s book Good to Great. Within a month he had given copies to everyone on his team. Soon after, language from the book made its way into Rob’s everyday speech.…

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What’s Your $1 Billion Idea?

Originally published January 13, 2014 on Harvard Business Review by Doug Sundheim Anyone would be inspired by the story of Nick Woodman, the CEO of GoPro, a $2.5B company that makes wearable HD video cameras.  The highlights: In the late 1990’s/early 2000’s, Woodman blows $4M of VC money on a failed venture called funBugs.com, an…

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The Hidden Dangers of Playing It Safe

Originally published October 22, 2013 on Harvard Business Review by Doug Sundheim Last year Dina, a CEO I’d been working with, felt that leaders on her team were playing it too safe.  They weren’t finding and pursuing new growth opportunities and it was crippling the organization.  She kicked off her October management team meeting, which…